Friday, July 22, 2016

7th Graders Researching Using Google's research Tool

Seventh graders have embarked on their journey to creating a video presentation. The first step is to conduct research on a topic of their choosing. Students have been using Google's research tool to accomplish this. what is fantastic about this tool is that it allows the user to easily create citations. In the past, in order to cite a reference, a student either had to look up how to cite using MLA or APA or Chicago parameters. Now, Google has all of that programmed into their research tool.

Monday, January 25, 2016

8th Graders Reacquaint Themselves With WeVideo

Since Powerball has hit the unprecedented billion dollar mark, I found myself asking the age-old question, "What would I do if I won that amount of money?" After coming back to reality, another question popped up in my mind: what would students say to that question? So, I posed that question to them. Their response was to be in the form of a 1 minute video. Today's post shows students working on their video project using WeVideo as a video editor. WeVideo is a web 2.0 tool, which basically means that a user can go to a website and create something there rather than download the app on to there computer. What is great about web 2.0 sites is that you can access your project from any device that supports web browsing. Gone are the days where students could only work on projects in school because they did not have the same program installed on their computers at home.

Students first used WeVideo in 7th grade, so this project was also used to get the student reacquainted with what they learned from last year. 8th graders in computer class will take what they learned in 7th grade (video editing) along with what they will learn this year (video production) to create a film. To learn more about what this entails, please click here. To the left is a quick video I shot during class that captures students refreshing themselves with WeVideo.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

5th Graders Take the Reins

Remember those scenes from Charlie Brown Specials when Charlie Brown was interacting with his teacher or an adult? The noise that was supposed to be the adult's voice.... wah, wah, wah wah wah waah! I didn't quite understand what that was all about until I became that adult speaking to students. Teachers have only about 5-6 minutes to teach or explain a skill before student attention spans drop. Yet, if a student was to explain or teach the same skill to another student, the results are quite different. I'm sure there are a host of reasons for why this occurs, but that's for another blog to discuss.

So, I decided to have students in my 5th grade class help each other complete a task using Google Drive. I set parameters: no student could ask me for help unless they asked three other students, students had to ask at least one person who was on the other side of the room, forcing them to get out of their seat and move(bringing in oxygen into their brain), and the student who was helping could not do it for them but rather had to explain what to do. I wondered if students would be hesitant to ask for help from other students, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the exact opposite happened.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Cycle 4 7th Graders Adding Finishing Touches to Their Video Projects

7th graders are rounding the bend for their final project. Students have been using their storyboards they created a few weeks ago to help create their finished video. Along with a combination of images and royalty free video clips and audio, students have been showcasing their understanding of video editing. 

Each student has been given a WeVideo account to use for their editing. WeVideo is a web 2.0 application which basically means that instead of using a downloaded program, they can go to the company's website to do all the work. This makes it very convenient for students to continue to work at home using their Chromebooks to edit their projects. 

Some students have decided to work on  creating a PSA announcement of their choice. Others chose to create projects about themselves. Regardless of choice, all were required to complete some research to add factual information to their project. Using Google Doc's Research tool, students easily incorporated their research into their document with one simple click.

Look for future posts to see some finished projects!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Look Out, Hollywood, John Wallace's 8th Graders Are Making Films!

Cycle 4 8th graders are finally at the point they have been working towards.... filming their projects! After three weeks of learning the basics to film (script writing, storyboarding, lighting, and audio), students are now applying what they have learned. The last step in this process is to have the students apply their editing know-how. Student projects are due by January 19th.
Agi adjusts for the right angle for a PSA.

Alessandro discusses with Shawn their next shot.

Ashanti makes adjustments to her storyboard before filming.

Monday, January 11, 2016

CF First Comes To John Wallace

Due to the success of John Wallace's First Annual Hour of Code event, the school has started their very own computer science club. What is computer science? If you have heard of the terms programming or coding,  or if you have created things with a computer or solved problems with a computer, then you have taken part in computer science. One way to define computer science is "creating programs and solving problems using a computer".

Every Thursday after school, CS First club members will build themed projects in the programming language Scratch. They will use the CS First website to watch instructional videos and code their projects on the Scratch website. A theme runs every 8 weeks; the current theme is storytelling through coding. Other themes may include art through coding and game design through coding.

Students have a specific agenda for each meeting where they will watch instructional videos and then use what they watched to create a project for that day. Each club meeting should result in a different project. One of the cool things about using CS First as a way to code is that it allows club members the opportunity to continue coding at home. And, if you missed the first meeting, do not fret. The club has an open enrollment policy. Come see what CS First has to offer for you!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

7th Graders Research using Google Research

Today, 7th graders began researching information for their course project which is to either create a video about themselves or a PSA on a topic of their choice. I am having students conduct research, grabbing factual information for their message as well as locate images to help visually represent what they are learning.

Before we moved to Google Apps for Education, GAFE, students had to open multiple tabs in their browser to search different web sites and then use a citation app, like EasyBib, to help them properly cite resources. Google docs has that all built into one. Check out this video tutorial on using the research tool in a Google Doc.